Poor storage facilities affect fresh produce

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Poor cold storage facilities and infrastructure continue to hinder Papua New Guinea’s K2 billion fresh produce industry, according to a Fresh Produce Development Agency expert.
FPDA‘s regional horticulturalist Emmanuel Kavanamur told The National this in Mt Hagen on Tuesday during a visit of nearby villages involved in vegetable and fruit growing.
“The fresh produce industry is worth about K2 billion,” he said.
“We have a lot of good things coming up in Western Highlands in relation to fresh produce.
“We have seen a vast increase in production of mixed vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and potatoes.
“Sweet potato (kaukau) is becoming very prominent while taro production is picking up.
“The perishable vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are always grown in the Highlands in areas like Tambul, Gembogl (Chimbu) and a lot of high altitude areas.
“We have seen a lot of farmers going large-scale because of the marketing opportunities in PNG.
“We know that farmers can grow vegetables, but our major constraint is that the supply chain or value chain has a lot of problems.”
Kavanamur said to overcome problems of consistency and quality, storage facilities and infrastructure had to be in place.
“We don’t have the cooling facilities in place,” he said.
“At the same time, road infrastructure is affecting our farmers.
“We don’t have a specialised transport system to shift our freshvegetables to other provinces.
Kavanamur said FPDA had done well in recent years by connecting farmers to buyers, however, lack of proper storage facilities was affecting our fresh produce.
“We are negotiating with various provinces in the Highlands and others to help us construct and establish cooling facilities for us,” he said.
“Those facilities have to be in place so that farmers can store what they grow.”

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